Eritrean Refugee Journeys

Why they flee and what they face

Starts:  4/7/2015  6:00 PM
Ends: 4/7/2015 7:30 PM
Location: Kotzen
Hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled a suffocating dictatorship over the past decade, making the once promising new African nation one of the largest per capita producers of refugees in the world. To reach a safe haven they risk capture and imprisonment in Eritrea’s medieval jails, kidnapping and torture by gangs of human traffickers, anonymous death on perilous desert and sea crossings, and more.

Then comes the disheartening struggle to gain recognition as a “legitimate” refugee from countries confronted with mushrooming flows of migrants and looking for an excuse to lock the front gate. Yet still they come, often at enormous personal risk, in search of basic security and the right to life itself.

This presentation will draw on Connell’s extensive field research in 2014 and 2015 that ranged from North America, Europe and Israel to East and Southern Africa and, most recently, South and Central America. Using personal observations and individual refugee narratives he will put a human face on the crisis, describe its main corridors, and sketch out options to deal with it based on refugee engagement and empowerment.

Please join us for Dan Connell’s talk, with an open discussion to follow.

Dan Connell, a retired senior lecturer in journalism and African studies at Simmons College, now a visiting scholar at Boston University’s African Studies Center, has researched and written about Eritrea for nearly 40 years (